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ONWA Calls for Transformational Change to Address Violence Against Indigenous Women

Thunder Bay, ON - Today is the beginning of justice for Barbara Kentner and her family. While no sentence can ever address the harm done by this senseless act of violence, the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) is pleased that the court denied bail when Brayden Bushby appealed within hours of sentencing. ONWA is disappointed that Bushby has not taken responsibility, as displayed by the appeal process underway. The justice system has an opportunity to sentence appropriately, ensuring that a strong message is sent to the public that Indigenous women are protected equally under the law.

Indigenous women and girls will continue to go missing or be murdered until we address broader systemic issues. For true justice and to honour Barbara Kentner and her family, we need more accountability not only at an individual level but also a leadership level. Today, the court heard and acknowledged this crime was based on the fact that she was an Indigenous woman. For Indigenous women locally and across Canada, safety has become a privilege when it should be a right.

We must not forget that throwing objects at Indigenous people in Thunder Bay has become normalized. Violence against Indigenous women is testimony to the ongoing impact of colonial policies that continue to perpetuate inequality and discrimination. While all Indigenous people face a heightened risk of experiencing violence in comparison to the non-Indigenous population, Indigenous women face an even greater risk due to their race and gender. Sadly, Thunder Bay continues to make headlines for being recognized as an unsafe place for Indigenous peoples, particularly women as they experience the brunt of racialized gendered violence.

“In memory of Barbara Kentner and in support of her family and loved ones, we will continue to fight for justice and the safety of all Indigenous women and girls. I call upon the City of Thunder to take immediate action to improve the safety of Indigenous women and girls.” - Cora McGuire-Cyrette, Executive Director, ONWA

Since Barbara Kentner’s death occurred, what steps has the City of Thunder Bay undertaken to improve Indigenous women’s safety? Following today’s sentencing, we strongly call upon the City of Thunder Bay, Mayor and Thunder Bay City Council, to work with Indigenous women in the community to address racism, safety and all forms of violence being experienced at the local level. As a community, the leaders of Thunder Bay must acknowledge and denounce the conditions that allow for the continued normalization of violence against Indigenous women and develop concrete steps to end it.

For more information:

Andre Morriseau

Communications Manager

Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA)


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